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Concoctions good enough to pass as your own

By Aida Mollenkamp

In this age of everything local and seasonal, it seems blasphemous to direct people to the packaged goods aisle for ingredients. But if buying Nilla Wafers is so wrong, we don’t want to be right. Some of these items are worth eating straight out of the box; for others, it’s the manufacturer’s recipe on the box (or on the website) that makes the purchase worthwhile.

Original Nilla Banana Pudding
C&H Sugar's Spiced Zucchini Bread
Irresistible Jif Peanut Butter Cookies

1. Original Nilla Banana Pudding. New York City’s Magnolia Bakery won people over with its version of this classic. But for those of us not able to stroll to the West Village for a taste, try this intensely banana-flavored pudding. The only acceptable alteration to this recipe is to fold in some whipped cream for extra indulgence.

2. Original Chex Party Mix. This salty-savory mix is equally at home as an after-school snack or at a Super Bowl party. Of course, we can’t mention Chex without also giving a nod to the irresistible Muddy Buddies (a.k.a. Puppy Chow or Puppy Food).

3. All-Bran Honey Muffins. Yes, Kellogg’s All-Bran resembles rabbit pellets. But these honey muffins are tasty.

4. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats. PTAs nationwide have the Rice Krispies Treat to thank for keeping them afloat. There are many versions of this recipe out there, but it’s hard to surpass the original.

5. Baker’s One Bowl Coconut Macaroons. The CHOW test kitchen had a surplus of Baker’s coconut lying around after unsuccessfully trying it in our Gourmet Trail Mix, and we were debating what to use it for. The answer was right on the package.

6. C&H Sugar’s Spiced Zucchini Bread. A perfect solution for late summer’s zucchini surplus.

7. Philadelphia Cream Cheese’s Classic Cheesecake. This cheesecake recipe isn’t doctored up with toppings or swirls, which is probably why they call it classic.

8. Irresistible Jif Peanut Butter Cookies. Don’t fear the shortening: That’s what makes these so soft and indulgent.

9. Quaker’s Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. With their great balance of chewiness and spice, these cookies truly vanish.

10. Ghirardelli’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies. Nestlé’s original Toll House recipe is the chocolate chip cookie benchmark, but try these for a different take. As for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe not on a package? Our Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies, of course!

Ten photograph by Gene Lee

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